Tag Archives | Geology

Trovants: Romania’s Incredible Growing ‘Rocks’

320px-Trovant_at_Costesti_in_Romania

Pic: Genudoc (CC)

These amazing growing “rocks” remind me of another curious geological phenomena: The racing rocks of Death Valley.

Via Oddity Central:

When I first read about trovants, I couldn’t believe they were real. They sounded like objects Captain Kirk and his crew would discover on an alien planet. Strange rocks that grow when it rains and move from one place to another without any assistance. Totally sci-fi, right?

As I kept reading about them, I discovered that trovants aren’t a part of science fiction, they are just an amazing geological phenomena. These stones seem to grow as if they are alive, even though they’re not. They are found in the small Romanian village of Costesti. The word ‘trovant’ is a synonym for the German term “Sandsteinkonkretionen” (try saying that really fast), which means ‘cemented sand’.

Cemented sand – that’s a strange name for a rock, isn’t it?

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New Photos Suggest That Planet Mercury Is Hollow

The hollows appear to have formed relatively recently. The next question is, what lies inside? Phys.org writes:

A recent image acquired by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft shows the interior of Eminescu, a youngish 80-mile wide crater just north of Mercury’s equator. Eminescu made science headlines last year with MESSENGER’s discovery of curious eroded blotches called “hollows” scattered across its interior and surrounding its central peak, and now it looks like the spacecraft may have spotted some of these strange features in their earliest stages of formation along the inner edge of the crater’s rim.

First announced in September 2011, hollows have now been identified in many areas across Mercury. The lack of craters within hollows indicates that they are relatively young. It was suggested that they may be the result of an ongoing process on Mercury.

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‘Mundus Subterraneus’: Arcane, Uncanny, Online

Until recently, if you wanted to leaf through Athanasius Kircher’s Mundus Subterraneus, you had to sneak into a university’s rare book collection at night, Wilbur Whateley-style.  Now the complete work, with its many bizarre and fantastic illustrations, is available at the Internet Archive—enjoy. John Glassie has an excellent piece on it at The Public Domain Review:

Just before Robert Hooke’s rightly famous microscopic observations of everything from the “Edges of Rasors” to “Vine mites” appeared in Micrographia in 1665, the insatiably curious and incredibly prolific Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher published what is in many ways a more spectacular work. Mundus Subterraneus (Underground World), a two-volume tome of atlas-like dimensions, was intended to lay out “before the eyes of the curious reader all that is rare, exotic, and portentous contained in the fecund womb of Nature.” There is an “idea of the earthly sphere that exists in the divine mind,” Kircher proclaimed, and in this book, one of more than thirty on almost as many subjects that he published during his lifetime, he tried to prove that he had grasped it.

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A Real Journey To The Center Of The Earth

Chikyu (ship, 2002) 20120929This may sound reminiscent of a certain famous novel by Jules Verne, or Hollywood movie if you prefer, but it’s really in progress reports Tom Levitt for CNN:

Humans have reached the moon and are planning to return samples from Mars, but when it comes to exploring the land deep beneath our feet, we have only scratched the surface of our planet.

This may be about to change with a $1 billion mission to drill 6 km (3.7 miles) beneath the seafloor to reach the Earth’s mantle — a 3000 km-thick layer of slowly deforming rock between the crust and the core which makes up the majority of our planet — and bring back the first ever fresh samples.

It could help answer some of our biggest questions about the origins and evolution of Earth itself, with almost all of the sea floor and continents that make up the Earth´s surface originating from the mantle.

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Red Ice Creations features Randall Carlson : Cosmic Patterns and Cycles of Catastrophe

As a professional designer/builder, student of Sacred Geometry and long time Freemason, Randall Carlson is uniquely qualified to interpret the hidden meaning of the great masterpieces of mystical architecture. It is his aspiration to affect a revival of lost knowledge towards the goal of creating the new world based upon universal principles of harmony, freedom, and spiritual evolution…

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Deep-Drilling an Italian Supervolcano

Campi Flegrei

Photo: Donar Reiskoffer (CC)

Edwin Cartlidge writes on Science:

A project to drill deep into the heart of a “supervolcano” in southern Italy has finally received the green light, despite claims that the drilling would put the population of Naples at risk of small earthquakes or an explosion. Italian news agency ANSA quoted project coordinator Giuseppe De Natale of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology as saying that the office of Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris has approved the drilling of a pilot hole 500 meters deep.

The Campi Flegrei Deep Drilling Project was set up by an international collaboration of scientists to assess the risks posed by the Campi Flegrei caldera, a geological formation just a few kilometers to the west of Naples that formed over thousands of years following the collapse of several volcanoes. Researchers believe that if it erupted, Campi Flegrei could have global repercussions, potentially killing millions of people and having a major effect on the climate, but that such massive eruptions are extremely rare…

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Egg-Shaped Globule Inside Meteorite Is ‘Final Proof Of Life On Mars’

globuleJust your daily dose of news on mysterious soft eggs allegedly found inside Mars meteors that crashed into Africa. I’d be afraid to hold it. The Sun writes:

Scientists claim this egg-shaped object is the final proof of life on Mars after finding it inside a meteorite from the Red Planet.

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe [of Cardiff University] said the globule from the rock named Tissint is rich in carbon and oxygen and insisted they could only have been produced by living organisms. He added that they could not have been caused by contamination when they fell to Earth. PhD student Jamie Wallis, who was working with Dr Wickramasinghe, said: “All the indications are that structures such as we have found are evidence of life on Mars. “The spheres are probably remnants of polysaccharide shells surrounding algal type cells.”

The meteorite was named after the village where it came down in the Sahara desert in Morocco last July.

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Listen to Japan’s 9.0 Quake: Seismic Waves as Sound

Quake AudioVia Futurity:

Zhigang Peng, associate professor in School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has converted the earthquake’s seismic waves into audio files. The results allow experts and general audiences to “hear” what the quake sounded like as it moved through the earth and around the globe.

“We’re able to bring earthquake data to life by combining seismic auditory and visual information,” says Peng, whose research appears in the March/April edition of Seismological Research Letters.

“People are able to hear pitch and amplitude changes while watching seismic frequency changes. Audiences can relate the earthquake signals to familiar sounds such as thunder, popcorn popping and fireworks.”

The different sounds can help explain various aspects of the earthquake sequence, including the mainshock and nearby aftershocks …

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When the Earth Gets Sick: Most Mass Extinctions Happened Slowly

Pangaea

Earth in the Permian period. Illustration: Kieff (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

In geology as in cancer research, the silver bullet theory always gets the headlines and nearly always turns out to be wrong. For geologists who study mass extinctions, the silver bullet is a giant asteroid plunging to earth.But an asteroid is the prime suspect only in the most recent of five mass extinctions, said USC earth scientist David Bottjer. The cataclysm 65 million years ago wiped out the dinosaurs.

“The other four have not been resolvable to a rock falling out of the sky,” Bottjer said. For example, Bottjer and many others have published studies suggesting that the end-Permian extinction 250 million years ago happened in essence because “the earth got sick.”

The latest research from Bottjer’s group suggests a similar slow dying during the extinction 200 million years ago at the boundary of the Triassic and Jurassic eras. The latest research from Bottjer’s group suggests a similar slow dying during the extinction 200 million years ago at the boundary of the Triassic and Jurassic eras.

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Pieces Of Planet Mars Landed In Africa Last Summer

meteorite Morocco Obviously, the best result from inspection would be (additional) evidence of Martian lifeforms. Via the Globe and Mail:

Scientists are confirming a recent and rare invasion from Mars: meteorite chunks from the red planet that fell in Morocco last July. The fireball was spotted in the sky six months ago, but the rocks weren’t discovered on the ground until December.

The last time a Martian meteorite fell and was found fresh was in 1962. All the known Martian rocks on Earth add up to less than 240 pounds. This is an important and unique opportunity for scientists trying to learn about Mars’ potential for life. So far, no NASA or Russian spacecraft has returned bits of Mars, so the only Martian samples scientists can examine are those that come here in a meteorite shower.

Scientists and collectors of meteorites are ecstatic, and already the rocks are fetching big bucks because they are among the rarest things on Earth — rarer even than gold.

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